RCT-5, 1st Marine Division Story by Cpl. Reece Lodder 12.14.2011
KUCHINEY DARVISHAN, Helmand province, Afghanistan — Dimly illuminated by a sliver of moonlight, eight shadowy figures quietly patrolled a gravel road set against a swiftly flowing canal.
U.S. Marines from 2nd Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment stand atop Patrol Base Barcha following a security patrol here, Dec. 12. The Marines pictured (left to right) are Lance Cpl. James Blomstran and his improvised explosive device detection dog Sage, Sgt. Matt Garst and Lance Cpls. Ryan Gerrity and Nicholas Dumke. The four Marines saved nine Afghans from a canal during a Dec. 2 night patrol. Near the end of their patrol, a vehicle carrying an Afghan family struck an Afghan National Army soldier and sent both plunging into the frigid canal. The ANA soldiers provided security while the 2nd Platoon Marines braved the swiftly moving current to recover the accident victims. Blomstran, 22, is from Cortland, Ohio; Garst, 23, is from Charlotte, N.C.; Gerrity, 21, is from Cranford, N.J.; and Dumke, 20, is from Huron, S.D.
At the front of the squad, Afghan National Army soldier Zaheed deliberately moved a metal detector from side to side, cautiously sweeping the road for improvised explosive devices. Fellow ANA soldiers and Marines from 2nd Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment followed closely behind.